By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
A 40-year career as a peace officer comes to an end this week for Liberty County Sheriff’s Investigator Darrell Elliott. His last day on the job is Wednesday, July 31.
Elliott, 65, has spent the last 24 years with the sheriff’s office, the last six investigating crimes against children with the assistance of Bridgehaven Children’s Advocacy Center of Dayton.
The veteran peace officer says he is looking forward to “venturing off to do something else for a while.” He and his wife of 43 years, Patricia, plan to spend time camping, visiting out-of-state relatives and spending more time with their children and grandchildren. Patricia, who worked in the food service department for Hardin ISD, retired earlier this year.
Elliott began his law enforcement career in 1980 after completing the Harris County Sheriff’s Academy. His first job was with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office as a detention officer. In 1981, he transferred into the patrol division, where he remained for five years and was promoted to sergeant. From 1989 to 1994, he worked as an instructor for the sheriff’s academy.
A move to the Hardin area in 1993 brought about a change in employment. Not interested in making the drive to Houston every day, Elliott took a commission with the Pct. 3 Constable’s Office under the late Constable Paul Lognion.
“I stayed there for a year and moved over to the sheriff’s office when there was an opening. I had a whopping salary of $1,485 a month back then. The salary was nothing like I had been getting in Houston, but I knew I would be able to pick up some extra jobs to survive, so I took it,” he said.
After 18 months assigned to prisoner transportation, Elliott was moved to patrol where he remained until 2001 when he was promoted to patrol sergeant. In 2013, he was promoted to sergeant investigator and assigned to the Crimes Against Children Division, where he remained until retirement.
Seeing the devastating consequences of sexually and physically abused children comes with a tremendous amount of stress, Elliott said, but he believed God put him where he needed to be.
“I prayed about the CAC position. It was a serious position with a lot of stress and commitment. I told God if it was His will, then open the door and let me have it. If not, then close the door. I felt it was ordained that I be there to help the children,” Elliott said.
As the county has grown over the years so has the number of cases involving sexually or physically abused children.
“For the first five years, I was assigned to 550 cases and I handled them myself. It was getting to the point that I couldn’t keep up with it alone, so Sheriff Bobby Rader brought in Sean Mitchell, who has been a huge asset to that division,” Elliott said. “When he first came, he was doing a lot of my field work. Now he is starting to take the lead. Our case load has increased exponentially in the last five years because of the growth in Liberty County.”
Elliott says he is grateful to have spent the last 24 years of his career with the sheriff’s office.
“It’s been the greatest honor and privilege to work the the quality of people we have. A lot of times, when you look at agencies, you see all the bad that goes on. I can honestly say with the sheriff’s office, there have been ups and downs, but our administration tries their hardest to straighten out things,” Elliott said. “Sheriff Rader has real pride and commitment for his people. He fights for us to have the equipment and pay we need. He has an open door policy, so if I have a problem, I can just walk in and tell him. He won’t chastise or anything. He will just look for ways to fix the problem.”
Though he is looking forward to stepping away day-to-day police work, Elliott plans to keep his commission as a peace officer in the event he decides to work as a reserve deputy. He also hopes to volunteer as an instructor or children’s advocate for Bridgehaven CAC.